US envoy urges Palestinian restraint on prisoner release

Israel had already freed 78 prisoners on three phases. The 4th group of prisoners was due to be released on Saturday.

US envoy urges Palestinian restraint on prisoner release

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. Middle East peace envoy Martin Indyk has asked the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to wait for an Israeli decision on Sunday on the release of the last group of Palestinian prisoners.

"The Israeli government is expected to meet tomorrow to discuss the issue," Ziyad Abu Ein, a senior official at the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

Under a US-brokered deal, Israel promised to release 104 prisoners held in Israeli jails since before the 1993 Oslo peace accords. In return for the release of the prisoners, the Palestinians promised not to pursue statehood at the United Nations.

Israel had already freed 78 prisoners on three phases. The 4th group of prisoners was due to be released on Saturday.

Abu Ein said the Palestinians have been making contacts with the Israelis to ensure the release of the remaining 26 prisoners.

"The Palestinians eagerly wait for an Israeli government decision during its meeting tomorrow," Abu Ein said.

He added that the Palestinian Authority is determined to resort to international institutions if Israel failed to honor its pledge to free the 4th batch of prisoners.

"Israel wants to link the release of the prisoners to a Palestinian agreement to extend peace negotiations," he said.

Israel Radio had quoted a senior Israeli official that the self-proclaimed Jewish state could reconsider the promised release of a 4th and final group of Palestinian detainees if ongoing peace talks failed to bear fruit.

The official said both sides had an interest in extending talks beyond an April negotiation deadline.

U.S.-brokered talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed in Washington last summer after a nearly three-year pause.

During a visit to the region in January, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented both sides with a proposed framework for an eventual deal that addresses so-called "final-status" issues – namely, borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem).

Last Mod: 29 Mart 2014, 13:35
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